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Erik Jones sidelined with compression fracture after Talladega crash

Jones, who drives the No. 43 Legacy Motor Club Toyota Camry, was following eventual race winner Tyler Reddick in a single-file line of seven Toyotas during Sunday's race.

On Lap 157 with just over 30 laps remaining, a push into the corner unsettled the group. The bump from behind started a chain-reaction crash that saw Jones' car hooked head-on into the outside wall. The wreck collected four of the seven Toyotas in the group including Bubba Wallace, John-Hunter Nemechek, and Denny Hamlin.

Jones immediately complained about back pain over the radio, but was initially checked and released from the infield care center. He later returned and was transported to UAB University Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, where he underwent further evaluation from specialists. He was discharged later that night.

Unfortunately, the team has now revealed that Jones suffered a compression fracture in a lower vertebra during the crash. He will be unable to race this weekend at Dover, but will be in attendance, per a release from the team. No official timeline has been set for his return.

The 27-year old hasn't missed a NASCAR Cup race since he joined the series full-time in 2016.

Corey Heim, who signed with LMC as a reserve driver prior to the season, will pilot the No. 43 in his absence. It will be Heim's Cup Series debut. The 21-year-old has nine starts in the Xfinity Series  and competes full-time in the Truck Series, where he has six victories.

“Erik’s long-term health is our number one priority,” said Jimmie Johnson, co-owner of Legacy M.C. “It will be great to see him at the track Sunday and we intend to give him the time it takes to recover properly. I know Corey will do a great job behind the wheel for the Club. In the meantime, our thoughts are with Erik and his wife Holly - they have our total support.”

The team will request a medical waiver so that Jones can remain eligible for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

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